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Diana, Goddess of the Hunt for Ancestors!
 
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Jefferson DAVIS, President, Confederate States of America
Sarah Knox TAYLOR
Varina Banks HOWELL
Husband:  Jefferson1 DAVIS
Birth:  3 Jun 1807/82, near Fairview3, Christian [now Todd] Co., KY
Death:  6 Dec 1889, New Orleans, Orleans Par., LA 
Father:  Samuel Emory DAVIS
Mother:  Jane COOK
Marriage-1:  17 Jun 1835, Beechland, Lexington, Fayette Co., KY
Wife-1:  Sarah Knox TAYLOR
Birth:  6 Mar 1814, Vincennes, Knox Co., IN
Death:  15 Sep 1835, Locust Grove, West Feliciana Par., LA 
Father:  Zachary TAYLOR, 12th President of the United States
Mother:  Margaret Mackall SMITH
Marriage-2:  26 Feb 1845, Natchez, Adams Co., MS
Wife-2:  Varina Banks HOWELL
Birth:  7 May 1826, MS
Death:  16 Oct 1906, Hotel Majestic, New York City, New York Co., NY
Father:  William Burr HOWELL
Mother:  Margaret Louisa KEMPE
Children with Sarah Knox TAYLOR:
none
Children4 with Varina Banks HOWELL:
1.  Samuel Emory DAVIS, b. 30 Jul 1852; d.13 Jun 1854, Washington, DC
2.  Margaret Howell DAVIS, b. 25 Feb 1855, near Vicksburg, Warren Co., MS
3.  Jefferson DAVIS, Jr., b. 16 Jan 1857, MS; d. 16 Oct 1878
4.  Joseph Evan DAVIS, b. 18 Apr 1859, MS; d. 30 Apr 1864, Richmond, Henrico Co., VA
5.  William Howell DAVIS, b. 6 Dec 1861; d. 16 Oct 1872
6.  Varina Anne "Winnie" DAVIS, b. 27 Jun 1864; d. 18 Sep 1898; never married
Keywords for search engines: USA, US, United States, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Virginia

Footnotes:

1.  There is some question as to whether Jefferson DAVIS had a middle initial.  Jefferson did not use a middle name or initial, himself, and it appears that the middle initial "F" may have arisen by tradition after his death.  This tradition alleges that the "F" stands for "Finis," meaning "end" or final child.  Consider that unless Samuel and Jane had agreed to end their sexual relations at that point or unless a medically knowledgeable person had pronounced Jane unable to bear further children, they could not possibly have known at the time they named Jefferson that he was to be their last child.

2.  Jefferson DAVIS grew up believing he had been born in 1808, only to have an uncle tell him years later that it was 1807.  From then on, Jefferson was uncertain as to whether he had been born in 1807 or 1808.  No one, today, knows for certain, either.

3.  The town of Fairview lies on the boundary between Christian and Todd Cos., KY.  In 1820, when Todd Co. was created from eastern Christian Co. and western Logan Co., the town of Fairview officially became situated in Christian Co., but the Jefferson DAVIS home (and the state historic monument) are on the Todd side of the county line. 

4.  Jefferson DAVIS had no surviving sons.  His only known descendants surnamed DAVIS would have to be the descendants of his grandson, Jefferson Addison HAYES (1884-1975), who had his surname legally changed from HAYES to DAVIS. 



 
Sources:

1a.  Jordan R. Dodd, ed.  1993.  KY, NC, TN, VA, WV Marriages:  Early to 1850.  Liahona Research, Orem, UT (Broderbund CD-229):  not found, and the CD contains at least some Fayette Co., KY, marriages.

1b.  D.L. Murray & N.R. Murray.  1995.  Marriage Index:  AR, MO, MS, TX, 1766-1981 (Broderbund CD-5):
DAVIS, Jefferson HOWELL, Varina 1845-Feb-26 Adams Co., MS

2.  1820 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com):  Jefferson DAVIS and his brother, Joseph Emory DAVIS, appear to be living with their parents in Wilkinson Co., MS (see Samuel Emory DAVIS's family group sheet for the record). 

3.  1830 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com):  not found, but as an unmarried male, we would not expect to find Jefferson enumerated as head-of-household, unless he was living alone.  At this point, Jefferson's father is deceased, and it appears Jefferson is not living with his widowed mother, and neither is Jefferson's brother, Joseph, as he is now married and head-of-household in Warren Co., MS.  A page-by-page search of Wilkinson and Warren Cos., MS, did not turn up Jefferson.  He may have been at school in Kentucky, which would also mean he would not have been indexed.  [There were just two Jefferson DAVIS's in the census of Kentucky:  one in Madison County who was free colored (b. 1785-1804) and the other in Shelby Co., KY, who was a man in his 20s with a wife and young son.]  It appears likely that Jefferson is the younger male living with his brother, Joseph Emory DAVIS, in Warren Co., MS, though the enumerator has the younger man in the wrong age class (see Joseph's page for the record), but the record is only off by one age-class, which is not an unusual error in these early censuses.  Bottom line: we can't use the census to prove Jefferson's location in 1830.

4.  1840 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com, Image #7-8 of 47; extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1840 MS Warren Co. Roll 217 pp. 266B-267A Ln. 13 Jeffn Davis 000 001 - 000 000 385 410 - 664 110 0/29/00000
These data indicate:
No. & Sex Age Class Therefore Born Individuals Inferred
1 white male 30-39 1800-1810 = Jefferson (b. 1807/8)
 
3 male slaves 9 or under 1830-1840 = ? ? ?
8 male slaves 10-23 1816-1830 = ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
5 male slaves 24-35 1804-1816 = ? ? ? ? ?
4 male slaves 36-54 1785-1804 = ? ? ? ?
1 male slave 55-99 1740-1785 = ?
6 female slaves 9 or under 1830-1840 = ? ? ? ? ? ?
6 female slaves 10-23 1816-1830 = ? ? ? ? ? ?
4 female slaves 24-35 1804-1816 = ? ? ? ?
1 female slave 36-54 1785-1804 = ?
1 female slave 55-99 1740-1784 = ?
29 persons employed in agriculture
Total of 39 slaves.  Listed one line below Jefferson's eldest brother, Joseph Emory DAVIS

5.  Mississippi Censuses [indices only, no images], 1805-90 (online at Ancestry.com):
1841 State Census MS Warren Co. Jefferson Davis
1845 State Census MS Warren Co. Jefferson Davis

6a.  1850 Census Index/Microfilm (online at GenealogyLibrary.com):  Vicksburg, Warren Co., MS, p. 213A, 718/742, enumerated 6 Sep 1850 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
Jefferson Davis 43 M U.S. Senator 25,000 Ky
Mrs.        " 24 F     Miss

6b.  1850 Slave Schedule Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com; Images #88-89 of 130):  Warren Co., MS, enumerated 6 Sep 1850, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1860 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
p. 277R
  Names
of
Slave Owners
Number
of
Slaves
Description Fugitive
from the
State
Number
manumitted
Deaf & dumb,
blind, insane,
or idiotic.
Number
of Slave
Houses
Age Sex Colour
23 Jefferson Davis 1 30 M B        
24   1 25 " "        
25   1 30 F "        
26   1 35 " "        
27   1 45 " "        
28   1 20 " "        
29   1 60 " "        
30   1 35 " "        
31   1 60 M "        
32   1 10 " "        
33   1 28 F "        
34   1 25 " "        
35   1 30 M "        
36   1 45 F "        
37   1 55 " "        
38   1 35 M "        
39   1 30 " "        
40   1 35 " "        
41   1 30 F "        
42   1 50 " "        
p. 278L
  Names
of
Slave Owners
Number
of
Slaves
Description Fugitive
from the
State
Number
manumitted
Deaf & dumb,
blind, insane,
or idiotic.
Number
of Slave
Houses
Age Sex Colour
1 Jeff Davis 1 30 M B        
2   1 30 " "        
3   1 28 " "        
4   1 12 F "        
5   1 32 M "        
6   1 25 F "        
7   1 30 M "        
8   1 27 " "        
9   1 18 " "        
10   1 19 " "        
11   1 29 M "        
12   1 37 F "        
13   1 27 " "        
14   1 28 " "        
15   1  9 " "        
16   1 27 " "        
17   1 25 " "        
18   1 25 " "        
19   1 30 " "        
20   1 28 F "        
21   1 20 M "        
22   1 12 F "        
23   1 30 M "        
24   1 25 F "        
25   1 28 M "        
26   1 30 F "        
27   1 26 M "        
28   1 30 " "        
29   1 10 " "        
30   1  9 F "        
31   1  9 " "        
32   1 11 " "        
33   1 40 M "        
34   1 28 " "        
35   1 33 " "        
36   1  7 F "        
37   1  5 " "        
38   1  2 " "        
39   1  1 M "        
40   1  2 F "        
41   1  3 " "        
42   1  1 " "        
p. 278R
  Names
of
Slave Owners
Number
of
Slaves
Description Fugitive
from the
State
Number
manumitted
Deaf & dumb,
blind, insane,
or idiotic.
Number
of Slave
Houses
Age Sex Colour
1   1 2 F B        
2   1 1 " "        
3   1 3 M "        
4   1 1 F "        
5   1 2 M "        
6   1 1 F "        
7   1 3 " "        
8   1 1/12 " "        
9   1 3 " "        
10   1 2 " "        
7.  1860 Census Images (online at Ancestry.com; Image #178 of 185):  Vicksburg P.O., Warren Co., MS, p. 1063, PN 175, 1397/1367, enumerated 4 Sep 1860, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1860 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
Jeff Davis 58 M   Farmer 300,000 205,000 Miss
Varena   " 38 F         "
Margaret "  6 F         "
Jeff Jr  "  3 M         "
Joseph   "  1 M         "
Jefferson's record has been tampered with.  There is a big black arrow in the visitation column (written with crayon or grease pencil or something similar) pointing at Jefferson's name, but more importantly, his age and the two property values appear to have been altered.  I can only recommend that you see the film to judge for yourself how much to rely on that part of his record.  Jefferson was, of course, born in KY, not MS, but this appears to be enumerator error, not tampering.  Jefferson is listed next to his eldest brother, Joseph Emory DAVIS, which record also has errors of age and birthplace. 

8.  1870 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com, Image #42 of 44 indexed "Jefferson Dares"; online at Genealogy.com, Image #36-38 of 40 indexed "Jefferson Davis"):  Peabody Hotel, Memphis (Ward 4), Shelby Co., TN, Roll 1562 (Book 1), pp. 146B-147B, PN 40-42, (Jefferson is on p. 147B, PN 42), 251/306, enumerated 15 Jul 1870, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1870 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
Davis Jefferson 62 M W Ex Pres S Confed     Kentucky
One of over a hundred staff and guests in the hotel, most of whom were solitary working men (i.e., few families).  After leaving prison in 1868, Jefferson became President of an insurance business in Memphis.  Varina and the children are in England (see email below).

9.  LDS.  Family Search: Census Records: 1880 United States (online at FamilySearch.org):
Census Place: Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi
Source: FHL Film #1254648; NARA Film #T9-0648; Pg 349A
  Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace Occupation Fa Mo
Jefferson DAVIS Self M M W 72 KY Planter GA SC
Varina DAVIS Wife F M W 53 LA Keeping House NJ VA

10.  1890 Census:  the 1890 census population schedules were destroyed.

11.  1900 Census Every-Name-Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com, Image #6 of 30 indexed "Vana Davis"):  West 44th St., Borough of Manhattan, New York City, New York Co., NY, Roll T623_1113, p. 33B, SN 3, SD 1, ED 731, enumerated 2 Jun 1900, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1900 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1900:  for an explanation of the column headings, please see What the Numbers in the Federal Census Mean (missing columns contained no data).
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 19 20 22 23 24 25 27
* 21 26 Davies Varra/Vana Head W F May 1826 74 Wd 6 1 LA NJ VA Landlady   Y Y Y R H
    Waller Elizabeth Niece W F Aug 1864 35 S     GA VA MS Owns Plantation   Y Y Y    
    Connolley Margarette Maid W F May 1875 25 S     Ire Ire Ire House Maid 0 Y Y Y    
*West 44th St

12.  Kirk Bentley Barb.  1971.  "Extract from Genealogy of Jefferson Davis."  Appendix III, pp. 488-508 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, 1808-1840.  Haskell 2M. Monroe, Jr., and James T. McIntosh, eds.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.  [Rev. ed. of 1991 not seen.]

13.  Haskell M. Monroe., Jr. & James T. McIntosh, eds.  1971.  "Genealogy of the Davis Family."  Appendix IV, pp. 505-529 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 1, 1808-1840.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.  [Rev. ed. of 1991 not seen.]

14.  Ernesto Caldeira.  1983.  "Davis Family Genealogy."  Appendix II, pp. 402-416 in Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 4, 1849-1852.  Linda Lasswell Christ, Mary Seaton Dix, and Richard E. Beringer, eds.  Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge.

15.  Email from Vanessa Burzynski, President, Varina Howell Davis, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Houston, Texas:
...I think I have an explanation as to why they were not present in 1870.

I just finished reading a book published by the United Daughters of the Confederacy about Winnie Davis, the daughter of Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell Davis.

Varina Anne "Winnie" Davis "The Daughter of the Confederacy" compiled and edited by Tommie Phillips LaCavera copywright 1994; Printed by McNaughton and
Gunn Inc. Saline, Michigan

Jefferson Davis was captured May 10, 1865 and taken to Fortress Monroe, Virginia.  Mrs. Davis was held at the Pulaski Hotel in Savannah, Georgia and was forbidden to leave or communicate with her husband or her friends in any way.

In July 1865 Mrs. Davis was granted permission to send her children to Canada to be with her Mother.  She kept Winnie with her in Savannah.  Afterwards she was allowed to leave the hotel and stay with a friend who lived 5 miles outside Augusta, Georgia.

In April, 1866 Mrs. Davis was granted permission to leave Georgia, but not to see her husband.  Mrs. Davis and Winnie went to Canada and rejoined the other
children whom she had not seen in over a year.

While in Canada Varina received word that her husband was dying so she telegraphed President Johnson to get permission to visit her husband.  After a few months she and Winnie were given permission to live with him in a four room apartment at Fortress Monroe.  He was released from prison on May 13, 1867.  They then returned to Canada to join the other children.  While in Canada they decided to travel to England.  While in England he was offered the presidency of a life insurance company in Memphis, Tennessee.  He returned
to the US leaving the family behind in London.

A letter dated June 27, 1870 was written from Jefferson Davis to Winnie Davis who was still living in England with her mother at the time.  It was her 6th
birthday.

By 1876 they were back in the US for the marriage of their daughter Margaret "Maggie" Davis to J. Addison Hayes.  It says that immediately after the wedding Jefferson Davis was going on a business trip abroad and took Varina and Winnie with him.  "On May 24, 1876 President and Mrs. Davis and Winnie set sail for England."  While they were in England they decided to put Winnie in a boarding school in Carlsruhe, Germany, along with the daughter of a dear friend who travelled with them, Pinnie Meredith.  She remained there for 5 years.  Jefferson Davis returned to the US in November 1876 leaving Varina who was very ill at the time with her sister Maggie in Liverpool. 

Jefferson Davis purchased Beauvoir in 1879 for $5,500 from Mrs. Sarah Anne Dorsey, the owner, to be paid in three installments.  Shortly after this the woman died and bequeathed all her property to Jefferson Davis in her will.

Then it states that on August 17, 1881 Jefferson and Mrs. Davis sailed from New York to Paris to come and bring their daughter Winnie home.  Winnie had left Carlsruhe and was spending several weeks in Paris taking singing and painting lessons.

16.  LDS.  Family Search: Internet Genealogy Service: IGI - International Genealogical Index and AF - Ancestral File (online at FamilySearch.org).  There is more information on Varina at the LDS web site, but because of its unknown reliability, I have not included any of it on this web site.

17.  Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), President of the Confederate States of America (online at Virtuology.com). 

18.  Rossiter Johnson, ed.  1904.  Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans.  10 vols.  The Biographical Society, Boston, MA (online at Ancestry.com).  Biographical sketch of Jefferson DAVIS

19.  Grolier Online:  the American Presidency.[link died] Segment on Zachary Taylor.

20.  Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Park. [link died]


Geographical Sources:

A.  Merriam-Webster.  1977.  Webster's New Geographical Dictionary.  G. & C. Merriam Co., Publ., Springfield, MA.
p. 388 Fairview... City, Nelson co., cen. Kentucky... birthplace of Jefferson Davis.
Fairview, birthplace of Jefferson Davis, was never in Nelson County Nelson County is in central Kentucky while Fairview is in southwestern Kentucky which is an extraordinary error for this usually reliable source.

B.  Adrian Ettlinger.   AniMap Plus: County Boundary Historical Atlas: with "SiteFinder," U.S. Place Name Database and U.S. Cemetery Database (on CD).  Gold Bug Software, Alamo, CA and other supporting sources.  The county history of the location of Fairview is:  1777-80, in Kentucky Co., VA > 1780-92, in Lincoln Co., VA > 1792-97, in Logan Co., KY > 1797-1820, in Christian Co., KY.  In 1820, Todd County was formed from Christian and Logan Counties.  Fairview straddles the Christian/Todd county line, but officially (administratively) it is in Christian County, while the Jefferson DAVIS home and historical monument are on the Todd County side of the line. 

C.  Geographic NameServer (online at MIT).  There are six Fairview's in Kentucky, but none in Nelson County. 

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